Well, it took two ten and a half hour flights and crossing the international date line...but I may be experiencing real time travel.
My first visit to Australia has been an eye opener for sure. We all expect the usual G'Day and shrimp on the barbie routine and a kind of cowboy atmosphere, at least that's how Australia is often portrayed at home. I arrived to find none of that.
My tour is in Queensland - farther north than Melbourne. I'm staying in Brisbane, a medium sized river city, with an easy pace and collective smile. Even in the fall, it has a tropical feel and impossibly blue skies. The pacific ocean on this end is divine - more turquoise than in California and free from high rise buildings and residences - both are restricted to the other side of the street, keeping the beaches pristine.
It's always easiest traveling in an English-speaking country, but Australia is a cinch. One feels comfortable approaching just about anyone, and there are a surprising number of foreigners about - I had a big laugh with a young man from Milano who asked me for directions, and a lovely chat at the bus stop with a student from Sao Paulo, Brazil who is here to study English at University.
Brilliant cafes everywhere, lovely museums, even a man-made sandy beach in the middle of town...but time travel you say?
Indeed. Wait until you see the school children in their uniforms looking as if they'd popped out of Eton....and these are public school kids - in shorts and knee socks, hats and skirts. Cool.
I rode the bus with the eighty-two year old mother of my concert promoter here, and three of those kids jumped up to give her a seat. When's the last time you saw that at home?
Here's one....on stage, every time I turn to the band to count off a tune, my pianist is smiling warmly at me. Really? That's amazing ...and unheard of. Don't get me wrong....I adore my cats at home, but this guy is one for the books.
Yesterday, in a cafe, a perfect stranger helped me by carrying my music case to the table, and then offered to draw me directions to the museum when he saw me looking at a google map. The optometrist re-fitted my crooked glasses for free.
Ok, you say, so there is kindness everywhere in the world, and indeed, there is. But maybe not so often all bunched up and visible everywhere you look.
Glad I came. Hope to come back again soon and often. Also can't wait to get home to Tony and the puppies.
Now, I'm off to do a good deed. :)